By Alexia Evripidou
AN ENGLISH CYPRIOT woman, desperate for news about her missing brother, made a public appeal this week for any information regarding his disappearance from the Finikoudes coastal strip in Larnaca nearly 12 years ago.
July 7, 2002 was the final day that 26-year-old Vasos Constantinou, who had moved to Larnaca from the UK a few years previously, was seen by anyone.
“I firmly believe that somebody somewhere knows exactly what happened to him. I want people to pity us, to help us. People don’t forget; they choose to forget,” Vasos’ older sister Despina Constantinou told the Sunday Mail from the UK this week. “Anything, no matter how big or small the information is, will be helpful for us, we just want to know what happened to him.”
Harris Hadjiyiasemi, who is now head of Kiti police station, was the police officer who carried out the investigation at the time of Vasos’ disappearance. He told the Mail that on July 7, 2002, Vasos had met an unknown man in what was then The Globe pub off the Finikoudes promenade. Vasos walked out the pub with this man and was never seen again.
Vasos and his father, Stelios Constantinou, had moved to Larnaca from northwest England in the late 1990s to start a new life following the premature death of Vasos’ English mother, who passed away two weeks after her 49th birthday.
“Her death affected the whole family greatly, with Vasos taking the news especially hard,” said Despina. Vasos was the youngest of four children and was very close to his mother, she said.
“The main reason for my father and brother going to Cyprus at that time, was to help my brother in his recovery from the death of our mother, they wanted a change of scenery,” said Despina, adding that both men kept busy with work, seeing family and “generally trying to move on”.
After a couple of years of living in Cyprus, Stelios, now nearly 70 and in frail health, moved back to the UK, leaving Vasos to run a small cafe in Larnaca. Vasos went on to have a very brief and childless marriage, which ended in divorce.
“Vasos was friendly, popular, sociable and independent,” said Despina. ”He was a normal young man with fire in his belly who was struggling to come to terms with the untimely loss of his mum.”
Stelios received the shocking call from Cyprus a few days after July 7, 2002 informing him that his son had not been seen for a couple of days. He flew immediately to Larnaca in an attempt to discover what had happened to his son.
“The police were informed, appeals went out, the local radio station was approached, and I put my brother’s details on the internet. We then put our faith in the police and waited for any confirmation of his whereabouts,” said Despina.
Hadjiyiasemi explained that “an investigation was carried out after his disappearance. We searched his flat thoroughly and did not find anything that was deemed a threat”.
“A missing person’s file is never closed, so if there is new information, we have to start the investigation again,” he said.
Dealing with the prospect that after 12 years with not even a whisper from anyone on her brother’s whereabouts, Despina has had face the possibility that Vasos is no longer alive.
“Surely my brother deserves to be found and buried, so we as a family can say goodbye to him properly,” she said.
Vasos Constantinou, who would now be 38 years old now, was 5ft 10inches, had black hair, dark brown eyes and weighed 180lbs. He had a picture type tattoo on both forearms and “Silvana” tattooed on his right calf, with a scar through his right eyebrow.
“You carry on but life is not the same, there is no closure. Your mind goes through everything, creating all sorts of possible scenarios that may have happened and why. What he may have been involved with, if he had got mixed up with the wrong crowd,” Despina explained. “Dealing with our brother’s disappearance has been horrific. The shock, the disbelief and the grief, it’s the not knowing. You just hope that some day you will find out what happened to him.”
She said she had got in touch with the Sunday Mail in the hope of reaching out to somebody and help jog people’s memories.
“Not a day goes by without thinking of him, if he is lying dead somewhere, we need to know.”
Any information regarding Vasos’ whereabouts can be given to the police by calling 24804040 or 24804067